RSS
Apple's 'dreaded' iPad subscription plan
Steve Jobs' company has finally announced a subscription deal for iPad publications. But media companies may not welcome the news
 
Apple's new iPad subscription plan applies not only to magazines but also to videos for apps like Netflix and Hulu Plus.
Apple's new iPad subscription plan applies not only to magazines but also to videos for apps like Netflix and Hulu Plus.
Corbis

Since Apple introduced the iPad last spring, the publishing world has been awaiting what some call a "dreaded" subscription plan for media apps. Until now, consumers have generally been forced to purchase iPad magazines and newspapers one issue at a time. Today, Steve Jobs "finally" announced a plan for multi-issue digital subscriptions to magazines, newspapers, and other media through the iTunes store. Publishers will have to fork over 30 percent of the revenue to Apple, and are barred from including links in the apps pointing customers to non-Apple sites to purchase content. Is this a fair deal, or just another example of Apple's control freakery?

It's an outrage: "Somebody call the cops — eh, antitrust authorities," says Joe Wilcox at Betanews. Apple is essentially trying to fix prices. Plus, the prohibition on outside links will have a big negative effect on the Amazon Kindle. I read that as "an attempt to extend the tablet monopoly into the adjacent e-book reader market."
"Apple App Store subscription plan gouges publishers, eats their young"

It's a compromise: Apple did make some concessions, says Josh Halliday in The Guardian. For instance, consumers can now choose how much personal information they want to share. That information is of great value to publishers, who can use it to target readers, attract advertisers, and sell to marketers. Now, the decision on how much to share rests with consumers, not Apple.
"Apple launches subscription service for magazines, newspapers and music"

Apple's strategy could backfire: Apple's 30 percent take means decreased revenues for publishers, and, in turn, possibly higher prices passed down to customers, says Nitasha Tiku in New York. Plus, the restrictive terms of the deal could send publishers "into Google's open and willing Android arms." After all, "why pay the cow when you can milk the platform for free?" 
"Steve Jobs unleashes Apple's dreaded new subscription plan"

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week